Executive Nurse Fellows Program a Springboard for Nurse Leaders

Feb 8, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program has literally changed the trajectory of my professional achievements and personal development as a leader. The ENF program aims to prepare nurse leaders to shape the U.S. health care system and requires us to be innovative, strategic visionaries, risk takers and skillful at creating the change we want to see in our health care delivery system.

As a National Advisory Committee member of Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN), I have been able to leverage my skills as a strategic thinker to help partners see the connection between their projects and the potential impact they have on their communities. As an advisor to the program, there is a great sense of responsibility because our recommendations impact funding decisions, partnership expansion, and innovative projects.

I view myself as a nurse leader who is able to listen well and be nimble during collaboration with partners and who is able to identify key points while remaining focused on the end game. The ENF program prepared me to be politically savvy and skillful at interacting with key leaders to solve problems while using “on the ground” experience to expand projects.

I am chair of the operating committee for the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a federally funded program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NDEP includes more than 200 partners at the federal, state and local levels. We are working with our partners to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes by changing the way diabetes is treated.

My role as chair of the NDEP Operations Committee requires ensuring that the voices, needs and priorities of high-risk populations and/or stakeholder groups are heard and addressed—and leveraged in ways that support NDEP’s strategic efforts. For more information about NDEP, visit www.YourDiabetesInfo.org.

Giving back to the RWJ Executive Nurse Fellowship has been rewarding as well. As a member of the ENF Alumni Board, I’m working with ENF colleagues to pilot-test our first ENF Alumni Association regional meeting, which will be focused on the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report recommendation on transformational leadership. Our aim is to test the concept of supporting a learning community and an information exchange to advance nursing leadership so that nurses are better able to shape and develop health care policy locally and nationally.

Read about Executive Nurse Fellows who have gone on to help lead PIN projects.

Read about Montalvo’s work with diabetes.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.